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I.E.M. - Arcadia Son CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.43 | 42 ratings

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4 stars I.E.M. served as a creative outlet for Steve Wilson's passion for kraut, space-rock and progressive electronic. Arcadia Son was released in 2001 and was the second full length I.E.M. album. It takes a different approach on kraut compared to the first album, which was a more upbeat rocking album full of Neu! adoration.

Judging from Arcadia Son, it looks like Wilson reserved Porcupine Tree to rock out and I.E.M. to explore more minimal and ambient realms. The result is decisively less catchy but all the more evocative and engaging. The best parts of the album really bring back the spirit of the first years of kraut-psych and electronic music.

We Are Not Alone is a great cosmic kraut fusion track. Free-jazz drums, fretless bass and lots of psychedelic flute samples. The silly "We Are No Alone" high and low-pitched vocal rant suits the occasion perfectly. Great alien atmosphere.

Cicadian Haze is another authentic kraut piece, very Popol Vuh with the oriental percussion and snake-charm flutes. Spacey mellotron joins at the end.

Arcadia Son brings us back to Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri, with celestial electronic effects and those crazed flutes again. A slowly pounding drum groove adds that extra bit of accessibility that makes I.E.M. so strong and relevant. This is not just a faithful reproduction of kraut rock. Instead it captures the creative spirit and mind-expanding sound of it but places it in a modern context, adding better production values and eschewing the indulgent sides of it.

Shadow of A Twisted Hand is the masterpiece here. It consists of 3 parts. The first has an electronically processed rock beat with psychedelic saxophone soloing and rising mellotrons. The middle part retreats to the alienated outskirts of the galaxy, joining Schulze's Cyborg and Tangerine Dream's Zeit with synthesised choirs and electronic effects. It gradually adds a sequenced part that measures up to the most captivating moments of Schulze's 70's discography.

There are some perplexing moments of beauty on this excellent release. I.E.M. only released 3 albums but each of them only adds more argument to call Wilson a real creative genius. The I.E.M. albums have been out of print for a while but are currently re-issued as a beautiful boxset that comes highly recommended from this reviewer.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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